You might not think it from the picture, but two of these women have done the music we love an irreplaceable service, and not just once.
From the left, they are Kathleen Hancock, Abbey Griffith, and Nancy Hancock Griffith: grandmother, granddaughter, and mother.
What have they got to do with JAZZ LIVES, and with jazz? Joe Boughton, hallowed and irascible, began a series of weekend jazz parties in the Eighties, which I encountered late in their existence, in 2004, as “Jazz at Chautauqua.” I’ve written elsewhere on this blog about these yearly ecstasies of music, friendship, coffee, Scotch, and music. When Joe’s health began to fail, Nancy gently offered her assistance, both musical and practical — and she was quickly expert and invaluable in all things, from settling disputes about seating or who wouldn’t play with whom, and Chautuqua went on — even improved — after Joe died in 2010.
When the Allegheny Jazz Society moved itself to new quarters in Cleveland, Nancy and her mother, Kathy, took over the running of the Party. Beautifully, without complaining about the year’s worth of labor such a weekend required.
I won’t go into the economics and logistics of running such a weekend, but even from my semi-outsider’s perspective, the work required had been massive. And then there’s the financial balancing act. Thus I was saddened but not entirely startled to read this letter from Nancy and Kathy on the 14th:
Cleveland Classic Jazz Party
All Good Things…
As they say,
— Go out on a high note.
So, after four years trying to make a go of the Cleveland Classic Jazz Party, we find we must take this advice. The 2017 Jazz Party was the best one yet, but unfortunately we find we cannot continue. We gave it our best shot.
This was a very hard decision for us, as we both dearly love this genre of music. We had hoped that we would be able to garner much more support in Cleveland for the Jazz Party, but we were never able to get to the break- even point — even with your generous donations. The costs involved in putting together the first-class productions we all appreciate are too high for us to absorb.
We are still trying to think of a way to continue to support traditional jazz in a small way, but for now, we find we need to disband the Cleveland Classic Jazz Party. We will always remember the wonderful friends we made, and the good times (and some of the challenges) we had along the way.
Many thanks to all of your for your support over the years. We hope to see you often at other jazz events and venues.
Nancy Griffith and Kathy Hancock
I could write many things here, but what needs to be said can best be said in music — in a performance from the 2015 Cleveland Classic Jazz Party, THANKS A MILLION, dedicated to Jon-Erik Kellso, by Duke Heitger, Rossano Sportiello, Scott Robinson, Nicki Parrott, and Ricky Malichi:
Nancy and Kathy gave time, energy, patience, good humor, and money — for years — to make these enterprises flourish. Without them, my life would have been less gratifying. Bless them! I send deep gratitude, and I know I am not alone.
May your happiness increase!